E-Bikes, I Want One

23rd October 2014

Bosch sponsored this post, but the enthusiasm is mine.

A few months ago Bosch sent me to The New Wheel to borrow an e-bike for the day.

I’d never heard of an e-bike, but they’re bikes with electric motors. Riding one is a lot like riding a regular bicycle, you have to pedal and you still get exercise, but you can set the motor to give you a boost when you’re climbing a hill, or getting tired from riding a long distance, or coming home from eating a lot of pasta.

None of this meant much to me until I was climbing vertical San Francisco hills like Wonder Woman on an adrenal high.

Guys, I have worn some adventure helmets in my day, but this was incredible. I don’t even like to walk up those hills, but biking up made me feel like I should be holding a tiny parasol and waving at passersby.

We biked places I would never take a regular bike — over massive hills in Pacific Heights and out to the Golden Gate bridge, up Telegraph Hill to Coit Tower, and right through the nightmarish traffic on Fisherman’s Wharf. We even climbed the massive Potrero Hill to see the city lights. In 15 years living in the city, I’ve never seen as much of it in one day. It was so much fun!

This guy wrote a piece on Medium about why he sold his car for an e-bike, and I was doing the same calculations in my head as we rode around.

Karen, who owns The New Wheel with her husband, loaned us the bike and led the way. She told me that lots of their customers are buying e-bikes to replace cars — new ones run about $3,500 and up.

While we rode around, Bosch asked me to catalogue some of my favorite places in San Francisco that are harder to access by car. So check that out if you’re interested.

And if anyone ever asks you if you want to try an e-bike, do it. And then keep it.

8 thoughts on “E-Bikes, I Want One

  1. Tricia

    I’m an urban cyclist in a hilly, traffic-ridden town (Seattle), so am a true believer that bikes are the fastest, most convenient way to get around. But, with the hills we have (and I’ve ridden in San Fran, so get that), they are hard and sweaty, so love reading about your experience that shows that e-bikes help make biking that much more convenient and accessible for getting around! Go bikes!

  2. Sarah

    Yasss! As an electric bike owner, I wholeheartedly agree with this! I got a job 15 km from my home (~9 miles, says Google), and I bought one of these instead of a car. I am not exhausted when I get there, which is great, AND my butt is also really firm from the exercise that I am still getting, which is, like, super great.

  3. Michelle

    Clearly I should have picked up an ebike in the days when I would ride to work from Noe Valley to SoMA. But I had been a competitive cyclist in my teens, so pure stubborn pride kept me from going for the electric boost. Stupid pride.

  4. Sheila Newbery

    I’ve owned an ebike (Focus Jarifa, bought from The New Wheel) for almost two years and am now approaching the 4,000 mile mark. They really are wonderful. Often I can get home faster from my studio (5 miles from my house) than I can in the car. Riding just about every day has cut my driving down considerably—and, yes, you can have adventures, but even just riding through the city and seeing things you’d never noticed from the limiting vantage of a car window is priceless. One of the greatest things about ebiking: *not having to fight for a parking space*. And if you suddenly think of an errand you need to run in the middle of the day — one that might add another few miles to your daily total — not a big deal. We used to have two cars, we got rid of one — and I ride the ebike now just about everywhere.

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